If Vernon had an overdose prevention site, Sandra Welton believes her daughter would still be alive.
Welton approached Vernon council Tuesday for an update on a planned overdose prevention site for the city, clutching a picture of her late daughter Megan Parrotta, 28, who died May 30 following an overdose of fentanyl and cold medication.
“My daughter graduated from Seaton (Secondary) and she’s now in a jar,” said Welton through tears at the speaking podium where she had placed a small urn containing some of her daughter’s ashes. “She had a drug addiction, she’d overcome it. She had two years of being clean. She chose to come to Vernon because she had lots of friends here. On May 30, she bought what she thought was cocaine.”
Welton said Megan’s autopsy showed not one ounce of cocaine in her system, but rather a lethal amount of fentanyl and cold medication.
“My daughter didn’t stand a chance,” Welton said.
“She always had her needles checked. She always did it safely. My daughter wasn’t a dumb addict. She wanted to be safe. She didn’t want the other side effects that come with it. If there was a safe site, she had naloxone in her backpack. She could give it to herself. If there was an overdose prevention site, she would have gone there and had the drugs checked because she was scared of fentanyl.”
Mayor Victor Cumming said the site is firmly in the hands of Interior Health.
“They will establish and contract out the services,” Cumming said. “At this point, we haven’t seen a revised call for services. But Interior Health is the one who will establish the site in Vernon.”
Coun. Brian Quiring said it’s not a matter of when Vernon will get a site but where it will be located.
“I’m in favour of it (overdose prevention site),” said Quiring, whose daughter was a classmate of Parrotta’s at Seaton. “Where it goes is very, very important to me. We’ve had meetings with Interior Health, voiced our concerns. The ball’s back in their court.”
Cumming added later that at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver, he dined with the mayor of Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, who said his city has an overdose prevention site located on a secondary shopping street across from the city’s library.